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A Temporary Moratorium on Evictions Will Soon End

Morgan Riley / Creative Commons / Wikimedia Commons / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SupremeCourtofVirginiaBuilding.JPG

The Supreme Court of Virginia is ending the eviction moratorium, a move that could spell trouble for people caught up in the economic crisis.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Virginia ordered a stop to all evictions as a reaction to the pandemic and the economic crisis. Now the court is ending that moratorium, immediately for cases that are not about paying the rent and Monday for cases where renters just don’t have the money.

Chris Braunlich at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says landlords also have obligations. 

“Landlords still had to pay their own creditors. They still had to use rent dollars to pay property taxes and insurance and maintenance and financing costs of the property," he says. "And these taxes, especially the local property taxes, are the things that finance the firefighters and the schools and the local social programs.”

But Elaine Poon at the Legal Aid Justice Center says evicting people who don’t have the money to pay rent during a pandemic will cause a series of new problems. 

“Allowing for evictions to move forward simply adds an additional crisis, which is homelessness," explains Poon. "The governor does not have any plan and localities don’t really have a good plan for how to cope with possibly tens of thousands of people who will be homeless.”

A spokeswoman for Governor Ralph Northam says he’s crafting a rent-relief program, and he plans to outline it later this week.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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